I was in Canberra over the weekend for a birthday party. Rooftop. 2pm. 38 degrees. Gin and tonic weather. We were staying right in the CBD so I expected easy access to a good liquor store, but no. The only option was a supermarket with a liquor section. All the spirits were locked behind glass, it felt being a naughty teenager waiting for a staff member to come and unlock the cupboard.
They had Tanqueray and Bombay Sapphire, at horrifyingly high prices, and they had Begin Gin for just $30. I did a quick search, no reviews but I found that it’s an Australian gin distilled in Victoria. I’ve been wanting to review more Australian gins so I decided to give it go, despite serious apprehension.
This is a distilled dry gin, but not a London Dry, which means it can include sugar and flavourings in the recipe. There is no information on the bottle or the website, so beyond that I’m just going on what I can taste and smell.
There is no ingredient list on the bottle or on the website, so there is definitely juniper in but everything else is a guess. There are citrusy notes as well as hints of spice. There are definitely some earthy roots in there, angelica or orris perhaps but I can’t be sure.
On the nose there is juniper, citrus and hints of turpentine. On the tongue it is full and floral and over-sweet up front, I suspect it is mixed with sugar. This is followed by a very sharp, acrid aftertaste reminiscent of Semillon and cough syrup. This is not a gin to drink on its own.
Mixed with tonic water it is lightly refreshing and the tonic cuts the unpleasant aftertaste. With plenty of ice and cucumber it was reasonably diverting on a hot afternoon, but the faint note of turpentine lingered and makes one a bit headachey. At its price point I would recommend Beefeater as significantly better.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
I can’t find any reviews, but if you try do tell me what you think.